22 May 2014
Food Topic: Food for Fuel
As the terrible social impacts of food-crop based biofuels continues to stir debate, so do questions about pollution and global warming, and the issues that need to be addressed to curve this ecological problem. Most scientists and environmentalists are striving for change in the fuels we use; most notable, the fossil fuels we use in our cars, homes, and businesses on a daily basis. One solution is start using alternative fuels made from corn, soybean, and sugarcane – in other words, our food crops. As a result, we can cut harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide; we spew into the Earth’s atmosphere. However, I dispute the use of our food supplies to control pollution; in fact, using our food crops to make biofuels will lead to some adverse conditions. For instance, when making biofuel, this will dramatically effect the cost of food and leave negative results from producing it.
The riots started to occur in 2007. The first country to erupt was Mexico. In just one year, the cost of tortillas, corn being the main ingredient, rose well above 70 percent. Suddenly, the poor were not the only ones effected, but also, the average wage earners were unable buy food. Equally important, the scarcity of just a few food products effected the cost of other food such as wheat, rice, meat, and even cooking oil. As a result, this drove up the cost of food in all countries, making it financially difficult for the lower and middle class wage earner and nearly impossible for the poor to purchase food. Secondly, David Pimente, professor of ecology and agriculture at Cornell University, found the energy needed to produce ethanol (biofuel) from corn – growing and refining – required a great deal more energy (2). As a result, the access energy used to produce ethanol, also produced greater carbon dioxide and other unwanted by-products, which voids any substantial benefits from using food crops to make fuel. Although...